ACE implementation winding down


After several tumultuous years there is finally a light at the end of the ACE tunnel.  The next significant release falls into the “Post Release” bucket and covers drawback, liquidations, duty deferral, reconciliation, eBond, as well as a few more housekeeping measures.  This release, originally scheduled for January 14, 2017, was postponed in order to provide the trade with more time to code and test the changes.  CBP has not announced a deployment date.

Beyond these updates, the ACE Deployment Schedule lists only “TBD: Mandatory use of ACE for electronic filing of remaining PGA data, pending PGA regulatory updates” as outstanding work to be done.

Many in the trade are enjoying the respite from the barrage of changing functionality and requirements and looking forward to stabilizing their import programs while enjoying the benefits of ACE (ie: Post Summary Corrections, ACE Portal Reporting, etc.)

At CustomsNow™, our programmers, after some well-deserved down time, have returned to upgrading the functionality within our systems and we’re very excited about some of the coming enhancements including web-based functionality, the ability access our applications using phones and tablets, and much, much more.

AAEI early bird registration is now open!

Register now for the 96th Annual AAEI Conference & Expo which will be held in Austin, Texas at the JW Marriott Austin from aaei 2017June 20-22.  Early bird registration is now open and runs through April 15.  This year’s panel topics include:

  • Trade Policy Status Update
  • FTAs – Multi-Lateral vs Bilateral
  • North America Update
  • Comparing Disclosures
  • eCommerce
  • Export Sanctions
  • Managing Third-Party Providers for Your Global Export Program
  • Trusted Trader
  • Technology Transfers
  • Divergence of Global Export Control Regimes
  • ACE/PGAs/ITDS Update
  • Setting Up a Global Export Control Program

Please stop by our CustomsNow™ booth #27 to say hello and check out our ACE-certified ABI software solutions and professional consulting services!



Product classification news: Snuggie is a blanket, not a garment!




Since bursting onto the infomercial scene in 2008, one question has confounded the nation about the Snuggie: Is it a blanket or a garment? Nearly ten years later, we finally have our answer.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection had categorized the Snuggie as a garment. This made it subject to a 14.9 percent tariff, whereas blankets get hit at 8.5%. AllStar Marketing, which sells Snuggies, balked at that classification. This led to a showdown between AllStar and the Justice Department at the U.S. Court of International Trade, where Judge Mark Allen Barnett settled the question.

Barnett ruled that Customs and Border Protection was wrong to classify Snuggies as garments, according to Bloomberg. In a 32-page decision, he noted that not only is the product marketed as a blanket, depicting consumers “in the types of situations one might use a blanket,” but also that the addition of sleeves alone does not transform the blanket into clothing. Moreover, Barnett rejected the Justice Department’s argument that the item is similar to robes and priestly vestments; unlike those garments, he explained, the Snuggie opens in the back and has no closures.

The decision also referenced the Slanket and the Freedom Blanket, both of which were Snuggie precursors and classified as blankets.

FDA entry reject? Could be a food facility registration issue…


If your entry was subject to an FDA reject, perhaps the food facility involved was not properly registered.

Per CSMS #17-000078:

FDA invalidated food facility registrations that failed to renew during the 2016 biennial registration period. In addition, food facility registration were invalidated for failure of confirmation by a US Agent and/or foreign manufacturer (registered by a third party) as required under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Section 415 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FD&C Act) [21 U.S.C. § 350D] and in accordance with 21 CFR 1.231(a)(5) and (b)(7). (Please see related CSMS message 16-001052). [And see our related blog post]

  • If you are receiving an entry rejection for an invalid registration, you will need to confirm the status of the registration with the manufacturer. The manufacturer may check the status of their registration by logging into their FURLS Food Facility Registration Module account to verify the status of the individual registration.
  • Registrations that have been invalidated cannot be renewed and a new registration will have to be created. The US Agent or the owner must confirm the receipt of the registration within 30 days for it to be valid in the FDA reference database.
  • Failure to have a valid registered manufacturer can cause a shipment delay greater than 24 hours, therefore it is not recommended to file a prior notice if the registration is pending or use a facility registration that was invalidated due to failure to renew or confirmed by the US Agent/Owner.

ACE information: For this reject the sub-reason code 112 is sent back in the SO transaction for entries, SO71 record. For Stand-Alone prior notice filings, in the PO transaction the code 112 is in the PO71 record.

  • Contact FURLS Registration Help Desk at or 800-216-7331 to verify the current status of the your Food Facility Registration. Please expect long wait times for phone calls.
  • Contact FDA ACE Support 24/7 at or 877-345-1101 for ACE inquiries to determine the rejection reason.
  • Contact Division of Food Defense Targeting at or 866-521-2297 for assistance with valid food registrations verified by FURLS Registration Desk that may be rejecting improperly.

EPA HTS code flagging update and reminders


From CSMS #17-000074:

In an ongoing effort to keep the EPA HTS Code flagging adequate for filers, some changes to the EPA flags were made on 2/9/2017 in ACE by CBP (see CSMS #17-000072). Please keep in mind, the importer is responsible for knowing what to file, regardless of whether a tariff code has been flagged.

• 10 HTS codes had flags removed for EPA

• 61 HTS codes had flags for EPA changed from “Required” to “May Be Required” to allow for disclaims

Paper filings and disclaims: Submission of paper documents is allowed for filers not using the complete PGA Message Set. However, for a filer proceeding without the PGA Message Set, if filing via DIS or Paper, the EPA expects a disclaim reason code of C (DIS) or D (Paper).

Questions on what to file: For questions regarding which imports require which EPA filing requirements, please contact the following:

Three new FDA import updates

FDA has been and continues to be a very active PGA when it comes to ACE matters:fda1


1.  Submission of FDA data in ACE

As discussed in a previous blog post, CBP and FDA are working to implement changes related to FDA’s Final Rule on Submission of Food and Drug Administration Import Data in ACE  and corresponding Supplemental Guide. The first deployment occurred on January 5, 2017, and a second is to occur today.

2.  Common FDA rejects in ACE
In an effort to keep the trade community aware of how ACE is progressing for FDA transmissions, FDA has identified the most common FDA (bucket 2) rejects.• Invalid Product Code• Invalid Food Facility Registration Number• Mismatch between Food Facility Registration and Manufacturer

• Invalid state/zip code combination

• Foreign Consignee

• Duplicate Entry

• Missing or incomplete entity address

For specific information related to the various FDA error codes, please refer to FDA’s Error Guide.

3.  FDA Requirements Change for Medical Devices, IUC 081.005

The requirements for transmitting medical device constituent parts for drug-device IND combination products, Intended Use Code 081.005 have been changed.

The following Affirmations of Compliance for IUC 081.005 are now conditional: DEV, DFE, LST. These Affirmations of Compliance are in addition to DA and IND, which are already indicated as conditional. This change will be reflected in the next version of FDA’s Supplemental Guide


For questions on any of the foregoing, contact FDA ACE Support or 877-345-1101 or 571-620-7320

Get a rare glimpse into Toyota’s lean warehouse operations!


From our friends at CSCMP Southern California Roundtable:

cscmp toyota






cscmp socal











What to Expect:

  • Observe Toyota’s methods for storing parts and dispatching work for 50% higher productivity than competitors.
  • Learn how JIT logistics doubled inventory turns while providing superior fill rates to dealers in the shortest lead-time.
  • Experience Toyota’s culture of employee engagement for continuous improvement.



Toyota NAPCC

1425 Toyota Way

Ontario, CA 91761



  • Tuesday Afternoon, February 21, 2017



  • 12:00 – 12:30   Registration and Networking
  • 12:30 – 12:50   Toyota Welcome, Introduction and Overview
  • 12:50 – 2:05     Lean Warehouse Operations Tour/Presentation (Group 1/2)
  • 2:15 – 3:30       Presentation/ Lean Warehouse Operations Tour (Group 1/2)
  • 3:30 – 5:00       Networking Reception



  • Individual Member: $65
  • Individual Non-Member: $95
  • Student Member: $23
  • Young Professional Member: $45 (30 YO & Under)



ATF imports? Big change for submission of PGA information



From CSMS #17-000056:

Effective immediately, importers filing ATF information electronically through ACE are required to use the PGA Message Set. DIS images of ATF Forms, including Form 6 and 6A, will no longer be accepted. When the PGA message set is filed correctly, the importer will received an automatic “May Proceed” from ATF, and if there are no further issues, the shipment will be released. Please note, original paper ATF Forms 6 and 6A may also be submitted to the ports of entry. For further information about PGA forms and filing procedures, visit CBP’s webpage on this topic.

Duty free claims: Updated requirements for HTS Subheading 9801.00.10 – US and Foreign Goods Returned


dutyfreeThe recent expansion of subheading 9801.00.10 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule affects time limits for filing duty free claims for returned goods, and the documents that may be requested when reviewing such claims.

As discussed in US Customs’ CSMS #17-000046, subheading 9801.00.10 now includes all products exported from and returned to the United States, regardless of country of origin.

For US origin products, there is no time limit on filing a claim. For foreign origin products, there is a 3-year time limit. The provision affecting “Returned Property” applies to U.S. or foreign articles returned to the United States and entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after April 25, 2016.

Previous language:

hts fix






2017 language:

2017 language


With respect to submission of documentation of duty free claims, CBP has outlined the specific types of written proof required when claiming duty free treatment under 9801.00.10.  Prior to this clarification many were unclear as to what the requirement may be (e.g., Manufacturer’s Affidavit?, Form 3311?, Proof of export?)

  1. For either U.S. manufactured goods or foreign origin goods (for formal entries valued over $2,500 only):  Declaration by Foreign Shipper indicating that the products were not advanced in value or condition while outside the United States.  A certificate from the master of a vessel stating that the products are returned without having been un-laden from the exporting vessel may be accepted in lieu of the declaration by the foreign shipper;
  2. For U.S. manufactured goods (for formal entries valued over $2,500 only):  for U.S. goods formally entered that are not clearly marked with the name and address of the U.S. manufacturer, CBP may require a Manufacturer’s Affidavit confirming that the articles were made in the United States;
  3. One of the following documents will be deemed sufficient proof of export from the United States for U.S. manufactured goods or foreign origin goods, provided the information contained therein proves an export from the United States:
    • a) Copy of the entry into the foreign country;
    • b) U.S. export invoice or bill of lading/airway bill; or)Electronic Export Information (EEI) or the Automated Export System (AES) filing exemption.
  4. For aircraft and aircraft parts and equipment returned to the United States by or for the account of an aircraft owner or operator and intended for use in his own aircraft operations, within or outside the United States, a CBP Form 3311, or its electronic equivalent may be used as stated in 19 CFR 10.1.
  5. For U.S. origin goods that were originally exported under a Department of State license that are now being re-imported, formal entry is required regardless of value along with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) Partnership Government Agency (PGA) message set.
  6. For U.S. manufactured aircraft returning to the United States, that were sold to a foreign government under the Foreign Military Sales Program, formal entry is required if any maintenance is being performed on the aircraft while in the United States.  The repairs have to be authorized via a specific case line in the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA).  The LOA is the agreement between the United States and the foreign government regarding the sale of munitions and other articles to the foreign government.
    • a)At the time of export of the aircraft, the EEI has to be filed for the maintenance of the aircraft.
  7. For U.S. manufactured aircraft returning to the United States that were sold to a foreign government under the Foreign Military Sales program, where modifications or enhancements will be made to the aircraft, then the following is required for the import and subsequent export of the aircraft:
    • a) Formal entry is required.
    • b) At the time of export, the EEI submission is required, citing the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls export license (DSP-5).




How will CBP’s drawback program change in the coming months?


The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 included a sweeping “game-changer” for the CBP drawback program, providing numerous, significant enhancements to the drawback laws under 19 U.S.C. § 1313, long-sought over the past decade by both CBP and the trade.

Section 906, Drawback and Refunds, of the Act goes far to strengthen the drawback legal framework and CBP’s ability to more accurately and objectively administer drawback.

Now you can learn more about the upcoming changes in CBP’s electronic newsletter.

From CSMS #17-000047:

In support of upcoming drawback program changes mandated by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA), US Customs has published the Drawback Simplification Newsletter on This newsletter provides TFTEA Drawback development and deployment information for the trade community. CBP intends to update information each month and plans to publish the newsletter on its website through February 2019.